A monthly look at astronomical events in the sky and on Earth
Compiled by Steve Sawyer
Hi welcome to Augusts what’s up. A little bit later than usual (apologies). but I’ve been away. The night sky in Canada when you’re away from the cities is simply amazing.
*** 10 second handheld iPhone shot taken near Huntsville, Ontario. ***
Anyway enough about my holidays whats happening this month?
Well assuming it stops raining and we have some clear skies! We have the annual Perseid meteor shower, plus the Kappa Cygnid shower, Saturn being and a blue supermoon at the end of the month.
So what’s on this month?
|1st||Full Sturgeon Supermoon|
|3rd||Moon near Saturn|
|8th||Last Quarter Moon and Moon near Jupiter|
|9th||Moon between Jupiter and Pleiades|
|10th||Moon near Aldebaran and Mercury Elongation|
|18th||Moon near Mars and Mercury|
|21st||Moon near Spica|
|24th||First quarter Moon|
|30th||Moon near Saturn|
|31st||3:25am Full (Blue) super Moon|
Looking South on the 15th at 22:00
Looking North on the 15th at 22:00
The two charts above show all DSOs of magnitude 6.0 or brighter. They are both taken from
SkyViewCafe.com and correct for the 15th of the month. For a clickable list of Messier objects with images, use the Wikipedia link.
The sun (it does still exist) is currently quite active, although the solar flare risk is fairly low with only G1 class storms potently on the way. With an unstable ‘beta-gamma’ magnetic field, sunspot AR3380 poses a continued threat for M-class solar flares.
For more info on the sun and solar weather look here : –
And our own Met-office have an excellent space weather forecast page here Space Weather – Met Office
On the 31st of August we can enjoy the second supermoon of the month and as it’s the 2nd full Moon it’s named a blue moon. This will be the brightest Moon of the year, but don’t expect too much. The Moon is only 30% brighter than the faintest full moon. What you can expect is lot’s of media hype!
See the sky diary for this months lunar events
A full lunar calendar can be found here :-
An evening planet, very low in the sky and lost in the sunlight this month
Not visible at the start of August. Becomes a morning planet at the end of the month rising 1-2hrs before sunrise.
Lost in the suns glare this month
Rising at around 11pm and is a brilliant morning planet this month. Moving higher in the sky as the month progresses.. The Moon is nearby on the mornings of the 8th and 9th.
Saturn is the planet of the month for August, reaching opposition on the 27th ( opposite the sun and closest to Earth at a distance of 1311 MKM ). Saturn’s rings also appear brighter during opposition so this a good time to image the planet. This brightening starts to make an appearance a few days before opposition and then fades after. Saturn is also near the full Moon on the 31st August.
Rising around 11pm and shining at around mag +5.7 and can be found in Aries near the boundary with Taurus.
Visible all night at mag +7.8 and can be found in Pisces.
The Perseid shower is ongoing and peaks on the 12th-13th August. This annual meteor shower is one of the most anticipated and reliable displays in the night sky and this year takes place without the Moon causing interference.
The Perseids meteor shower appears to radiate from the constellation Perseus, which rises in the northeastern part of the sky during the peak hours. While you can spot Perseid meteors anywhere in the sky, their trails will generally trace back to the radiant point in Perseus.
Meteors can be unpredictable, and the number of visible meteors per hour can vary throughout the night. Be patient and give yourself plenty of time to observe. Your eyes need around 20-30 minutes to fully adjust to the darkness, allowing you to see fainter meteors.
Another meteor shower this month are the Kappa Cygnigs which are a lesser-known meteor shower that occurs annually in August. While it is not as well-known or as active as some of the major meteor showers it’s still worth looking out for.
The Kappa Cygnid meteor shower is associated with the debris left behind by Comet 169P/NEAT and it’s radiant point is located in the constellation Cygnus, near the star Kappa Cygni
These are the viewable comets this month, the ones listed below start at mag 9 and go to mag 13. Sky at night has a feature on viewing C/2020 V2ZTF (found in Cetus) which states the morning of the 17th being a good time to view this comet.
|C/2023 E1 (ATLAS)||9|
|C/2020 V2 (ZTF)||9|
|C/2022 A2 (PanSTARRS)||12|
|C/2022 W3 (Leonard)||13|
|C/2019 T4 (ATLAS)||13|
|C/2021 X1 (Maury- Attard)||13|
Deep Sky (DSO’s)
This month as we’ll all be looking this way for the Perseids we’ll look at the constellation Perseus. Named after the mythical Greek hero holding the head of the slain Medusa.
The Double Cluster (NGC 869 and NGC 884)
Arguably one of the most stunning sights in Perseus, the Double Cluster is a pair of open star clusters located near each other. Visible to the naked eye as a faint smudge.
The California Nebula (NGC 1499)
This large and well known emission nebula lies just east of the Double Cluster. Named for its resemblance to the shape of the state of California. t
Perseus Molecular Cloud Complex
This vast and intricate region is a complex of molecular clouds that extend through the constellation. The clouds contain vast amounts of interstellar dust and gas, the building blocks for new stars. While not visible to the naked eye, they offer an excellent target for astrophotographers.
Mirfak (Alpha Persei)
While not a deep-sky object, Mirfak is worth mentioning due to its prominence and brightness. It is the brightest star in the constellation and serves as a reference point for locating other deep-sky objects in Perseus.
Located near the bright star Algol (Beta Persei), IC 348 is a young open star cluster. This cluster is relatively young and features numerous hot, massive stars
Perseus A (NGC 1275) – In Abell 426 (Perseus Cluster)
This is one for those equipped with large telescopes (8″ or larger) , the Perseus A galaxy cluster (NGC 1275) is an exciting target. It is part of the larger Perseus Cluster (Abell 426), one of the most massive galaxy clusters in the universe.
ISS and other orbiting bits
No ISS sightings up to the middle of the month
Check the website listed for sightings after this date . Use the this NASA website for exact timings for York overpasses. York, England, United Kingdom | Sighting Opportunity | Spot The Station | NASA
and of course the sky at night magazine!